Island Health says to expect second-dose notifications at seven weeks

Local News
second dose COVID-19 graphic
Graphic by Sie Douglas-Fish.

Although over 70 per cent of British Columbians have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, only 40 per cent are fully vaccinated. 

Media correspondents at Island Health and the B.C. Ministry of Health confirmed that the eight-week timeline between first and second doses is accurate. Island Health indicated that people should receive their notification to book their second-dose appointment at the seven-week mark.

The province says second dose notifications are scheduled to be sent 49 days after someone’s first dose appointment. 

“The current interval between dose one and dose two is eight weeks,” a representative from the province said. “As vaccine supply grows and more people receive their second dose, some British Columbians may be able to book at week 7 or 8, depending on where they live.”

People can expect to receive a text or email, depending on the preference they selected when they registered with ImmunizeBC. 

The second dose situation

Many young people are still waiting for a second dose, and their eight-week mark is quickly approaching. For those who were vaccinated from May 31-June 4 — the first week most people 18-25 were able to book appointments — next week is seven weeks after their first shot. As of July 12, 14 per cent of British Columbians aged 18-29 are fully vaccinated.

Although most people above the age of 50 have been fully vaccinated, there are some that have only received one dose. For instance, 28.46 per cent of those 60-69 have only had one dose. A second dose, however, is necessary for maximum efficacy of the vaccines administered in B.C. — Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca.

Vaccine efficacy results from the UK show the importance of getting both doses. Pfizer, for example, is 33 per cent effective against symptomatic infection after one dose and 88 per cent effective after two. With two doses, Pfizer prevents hospitalization at 96 per cent efficacy. 

How to get the second dose

If you are already registered, getting the second-dose notification will be the same as the first one. You’ll receive a notification, register for an appointment, get your shot, and then wait two weeks for your body to fully develop the antibodies. 

If you got your first dose at a pharmacy, the pharmacy will contact you.

Immunize BC says it is safe to mix and match mRNA vaccines — Pfizer and Moderna. Those who received the AstraZeneca vaccine as their first dose will be able to choose between AstraZeneca or an mRNA vaccine for their second dose. Both options are safe. 

Those who received their first dose in another country or province must submit an official vaccination record online. The record will be entered into the Provincial Immunization Registry, and you can still book your second dose in B.C. This includes international students. 

For people over 12 who have not yet received their first dose, Island Health is accepting walk-ins. Island Health says that, on average, 454 people walked in for first-dose appointments each day over a five-day period. Walk-ins are not available for second-dose appointments but Island Health says no doses are being wasted.

For more information about vaccination or to register, visit getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca or call 1-833-838-2323. Call 7-1-1 if you are deaf or hard of hearing. The phone line is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.